What Is God’s Language & How Can I Speak It?

Minister Nerlynn Etienne

CONSIDER ANOTHER LANGUAGE

According to Psychology Today, approximately 20% of all Americans are bilingual. This means that they speak another language in addition to English. The advantages of speaking a second language include strengthening cognitive skills, sensitivity to different cultures, and the expansion of communication to a larger demographic. Those of us, who have pondered the idea of venturing into bilingualism, have a challenging task before us. Not only is it increasingly difficult to develop new linguistic as we get older, but what language should we study? The language that I recommend is found in God’s Word.

RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD AND HIS WORD

John 15:7 says, “If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you” (NASB). In this verse, Jesus promises that whatever we ask shall be done based on these two conditions; we “abide” in Him and His words “abide” in us. The word “abide” means to dwell, remain, or stay. So by asking us to abide in Him and His words in us, God expects us to have a relationship with His being and with His word.

HIS LANGUAGE

God desires that we have a relationship with Him and His Word so that when we pray we aren’t speaking a foreign language. Unanswered prayers may not be a result of failure to petition, but a result of speaking a language to God that isn’t His.  I am convinced that many people are uncomfortable praying because they don’t know what to say other than their wish-list. It’s like speaking Spanglish (English and Spanish intertwined) to someone who only speaks Spanish. Sure, some of the words coming out of your mouth are valid but collectively how effective are they to the hearer? We must learn His language in order to successfully communicate.

 HOW TO LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE

A new language is learned by listening, cultural engagement and most importantly reading. By studying the Bible we engage in all three and simultaneously are prepared for godly conversation. Prayer provides the opportunity to exercise the studied language of God with God. When we pray God’s word back to Him, we will inevitably receive a response. God’s word which is “living” and “active” provokes activity (Heb. 4:12). It is by His words He created the universe and by His words all of creation is sustained (Ps. 119:90-91).

UNDERSTANDING HIM THROUGH HIS LANGUAGE

A new linguistic also teaches us a lot about the people of that particular culture. Through language we can understand their behaviors, practices, and ideologies. John 1:1 tells us that, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God” (NASB). God and His words are one. If we are to accept God, we must accept the fullness of His being. When He created the heavens and the earth by His words, He created them through Him Self. He is His word and His word is Him. The two are synopsis and to try to accept one apart from the other is erroneous. The language of God and the being of God are as inseparable as the Trinity. Learning the language of God is part of learning who God is.

THE ETERNAL LANGUAGE

As children of God we must remember that we are foreigners in this world (John 18:36). We currently reside on earth and in order to function we must be able to communicate, but keep in mind that this current life is temporary. Our eternal place of residency is different in nature and linguistics. Let’s make every effort to learn the language of our Father because His word is eternal (Matt. 24:35). His language will forever be here and if we desire to reap its benefits we need to get into the Book. Being multilingual is commendable and looks good on a resume but how useful are those languages  if none of them can be used to speak to God?

New Years Resolutions In June?

Minister Nerlynn Etienne

JANUARY RESOLUTIONS

Half of the year is passed and the month of June is right around the corner. This new month not only brings the heat of summer but it alerts us that 2013 is half way towards its end. At the beginning of each new year many goals are set, and promises are made. People often vow to lose weight, exercise, spend adequate time with family and friends, quit smoking, get out of debt and save money. How many of your 2013 goals have you accomplished?

 JUNE RESOLUTIONS

I will be the first to admit that it is extremely difficult to accomplish a goal set six months prior. So many changes can occur that causes us to lose focus, lose hope, and lose passion.  Although six months have passed, you still have six months ahead of you. Whatever was not achieved in the first two quarters can be in the last two. Here are three practical and applicable ways to accomplish your resolutions mid-year:

1. Revisit & Regroup

Revisit your goals of 2013 and determine what can realistically be attained in the months left. Then regroup your goals into these two categories; Long-Term and Short-Term. We can be too ambitious in our expectations of ourselves. If you realize what you thought should take a year may actually take two or three, that’s okay. It is no longer a short-term goal but a long-term goal. A long-term goal doesn’t mean that you put it on the back-burner but that it will take longer to complete. Begin working on it now with the mindset that it will not be accomplished this year.

2. Identify Distractions

Sometimes we don’t finish strong because we never took the time to identify what’s distracting us. On the road to success there will always be some stumbling blocks. The wise person quickly identifies what they are so that he can avoid them or defeat them.

 

3. Quit the Pity Party

Don’t waste the following months wallowing in your unaccomplished goals. Celebrate what has been done and focus on what can be done. Seize each new day as an opportunity from God to catch up. If you didn’t get any closer today, you can always try again tomorrow.

The Discipline of Discipleship

“Salvation occurs in a moment, but discipleship takes a lifetime.” – Pastor Mark Driscoll

Have you ever played a game of “Simon says” or “Follow the Leader”?  Ever noticed as kids we are determined to “follow” so well that we win the game?  Similarly, I believe Jesus also wants us to ‘win’ as we follow Him not as a game but as a matter of our spiritual growth and eternal destiny.

Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”  And they left their nets at once and followed him.  Matthew 4:19 – 20 (NLT).  I am sure to Peter and Andrew, this perhaps was not a strange question.  As fishermen they were very familiar with the act of fishing after all that was their heritage.  Enter Jesus via heaven, who comes and gives them an alternative, continue to fish or follow me and he could show you how to fish for people.  This offer was so appealing that the men had to follow him.  Now, have you every asked why did they do that; left a presumably successful business to follow a Rabbi from Galilee?  Historically, to be personally “called” to be the follower of a Jewish Rabbi was seen as great honor.  Therefore, this may have played a great part in the decision processes of Peter and Andrew.  Yet, I would like to think the great “why” would be because the Son of God summoned them.  The mere fact that Jesus took the time to come look for them would be a great privilege to partner with Jesus in His mission.   In a nutshell, to be a disciple would mean to be willing to leave our routine pursuits in order to partner with Jesus in His mission to the world.  Similarly, Jesus is still calling many of us to be followers.

A disciple then is a follower of Jesus.  The original word sounds similar to martyr, one who willingly lays down their life for another.  This leaves us with the assumption that a disciple is a person who is willing to sacrifice their own will for that of Christ.  The good news though, is that Jesus has already done it all.  So then how do we live a life of discipleship?

  •  Sacrifice one’s will – We must be willing to deny our will and take up God’s will (Luke 9:23)
  •  Study the word of God – It is the Word of God that guides us on the Path to follow (Psalm 119:105)
  •  Share the gospel – as followers who are growing and maturing in Christ our jobs is not to be selfish but to help others to do the same thing.  It is called the Great Commission. (Matthew 28:19)

Living a life discipleship is not easy because the hardest thing that one can do is to tell yourself No.  Yet, the comfort we have is that we are not doing it alone.  Jesus has given us the Holy Spirit to help us, as well as our community of faith here at Bahamas Harvest Church.

Quick Tip: DO NOT QUIT.  The world is already full of too many quitters.  One of the root words for Discipleship is “discipline”.  Disciples are disciplined.  (1Corinthians 9:27)

Aint Nobody Got Time For That (a place called hell)

RUNNING FOR YOUR LIFE

One of the funniest videos or sound bites in cyber world is the video by the now infamous “Sweet brown”.  The video has captivated the attention of the nation. She is describing her escape from an apartment fire. Her famous line is, “I got bronchitis, ain’t nobody got time for that”. Fire is not an attractive thing because of the damage it can cause. The mission of Jesus on earth was to provide an evacuation route for all those who are willing to run even without any shoes towards the provision. Sweet Brown lived to tell her story, but will you?

THE REALITY OF HELL

Some people including modern day “talking heads” like Oprah, Dr. Phil, and even the Osteens in the pulpit vehemently oppose the idea that a place like hell can exist. The Universalist opinion these “fools” subscribe to proclaims that all men will be saved because a loving God can never send people to a place as terrible as hell. They are right on the terrible part. The Bible describes hell as a furnace of fire with weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:50). The popular notion is that everyone who dies goes to a better place. I have never heard a person at a funeral say that we are sorry that this person laying here is on their way to hell. The “proper” or comforting thing to say is God bless their soul or R.I.P!

RIP, BUT HOW AND WHERE?

The Bible clearly defines hell as a place of torment and suffering that was designed for Satan and his demons (Matthew. 25:41; Revelation 20:10). Someone who rejected Christ while alive, can never be lied to in death that they are going to rest in peace. John 3:16 gives two options. Option one is belief in the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior with the reward being eternal life. The other option is rejection of Him with the finality being death. To have peace requires that one make peace with God while alive. A tattoo with the letters R.I.P. or a T-shirt with the person’s image and the “line in memory of” means absolutely nothing if that person openly rejected Christ. Scripture states, that everyone who is living has a non-cancellation rendezvous with death and the eventual judgment of God (Hebrews 9:27).

DON’T BE FOOLED

The Bible teaches that God cannot be mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap. (Galatians 6:7). The principle of sowing and reaping is one that everyone understands. You put a seed in the ground and with proper care overtime it grows. The result of the proper nurture is that the planter will reap a harvest. In the spiritual sense, you also reap whatever is sown. Someone who chooses to sow things pertaining to this world, can not reap a harvest that is blessed by God (eternity). The safest way to avoid this place is to place your uncompromised trust in the Lordship of Jesus Christ.  If you died today, would R.I.P be a reality or just a wishful thought?

A Disconnected Lifestyle

Can You Hear Me Now?

I have a burning question! What happened to the benefits that technology promised us? As I travel around the country and even around the world, I like to do what I refer to as “people watch”. I take time to analyze people and the various things they do sometimes mindlessly. Recently, I sat at a departure gate waiting to board a flight to California for a major conference. I watched a family of four ignore each other for 1.5 hours! The mother and daughter engaged in texting each other while sitting no less than 20 feet apart.  While they were on the phone texting, dad was on the ipad updating Facebook and the son was on a Mac book doing something else.  Families are growing further apart not because of social issues, but because of the multiple distractions available. As you read this, maybe you can relate to the reality of what I’m drawing attention to.

No More Relationships:

This is what our world has come to. A bunch of connected people disconnected by their connection devices! God said it is not good for man to be alone (Genesis 2:18). God knew the pain of loneliness and created a community for man to function in.  Community is where life is lived and experienced. Some people even stop going to church because they can a watch their favorite pastor on a live stream feed! What are we becoming? We have become a society of people who are lost in a crowd. We have wireless devices that in fact make us heartless. We have the convenience of the Internet, but we’ve lost the beauty of interpersonal relationships. Yes, we have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other “social media” hubs.  Are we really social?

Social media or Social Chaos?

I love the term social media. It sounds really nice until you realize that it does more damage to people’s social skills and manners than the benefits it offers. People are not having civil discourses anymore. Some try to settle “ a score” over an exchange of posts while others say too much about their private lives to complete strangers. The Bible talks about having and displaying wisdom. Allowing yourself to be sucked into the current trend is not “wise”. In fact, it’s stupidity in 4G!  In Proverbs we read, “Do not forsake wisdom, and she will protect you; love her, and she will watch over you. Wisdom is supreme, therefore get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding” (4:6-7). The danger of being so advanced is that we are so behind. May we make an effort to fight the new enemy of sanity, our great technology. I think it’s fitting that I end this communiqué by asking you are you better off with more or less?

Stay Focused

ACCOMPLISH THE TASK

As a leader one of the biggest challenges that I face is staying focused on the task that God has given me to accomplish. We all exist for a reason; God created us with a purpose in mind. Once we discover that purpose it is our responsibility to spend our life accomplishing it.

 ETERNAL WORK

Christ is the perfect example of a person who lived selflessly. His life on this earth was not about self-gratification but doing the will of His Father.  Several times in Scriptures we read that Christ says He is about His Father’s business and the work that was given to Him. But why was Christ so adamant about doing God’s will? Why did he mention it so frequently? Christ had to remind Himself that His earthly experiences were seeds towards His eternal purpose. Whatever He did on earth had eternity in mind. Christ didn’t waste time or energy investing in the here and now but what really mattered…the eternal work that He was sent to complete.

DISTRACTIONS

When Jesus walked the earth as a man, He was aware that His time was limited and didn’t waste it on; meaningless disputes, gossip, and accolades. In the years that I’ve been fortunate to live on this earth, I have found that many people are distracted by people. They begin strong but because of the desire to please everyone, prove something, or even defend themselves, they lose sight of what God has called them to do. So now their life mission is no longer the will of God but the approval of man.

 FOCUSED

It isn’t wise nor is it necessary to engage in every activity that comes our way. What if Christ took the time to entertain every foolish accusation made against Him? He probably wouldn’t have made it to the Cross because of His exhaustion with people. Any activity or conversation that does not assist our purpose isn’t worth our time.  Determine to stay focused and in the words of Christ, be about your Father’s business.